Facts Behind Indian Traditions

Facts Behind Indian Traditions

Indian traditions are a rich and diverse tapestry of customs, beliefs, and practices that have evolved over thousands of years. From the colorful festivals to the intricate rituals, Indian traditions are an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage. However, there are many facts behind Indian traditions that are not widely known. In this article, we will explore some of the lesser-known facts behind Indian traditions.

Facts Behind Indian Traditions:

  1. India is the birthplace of four major religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. While about 84% of the country identifies as Hindu, it is also the home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Jews and Christians have also lived in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D. respectively1.
  2. Jain people walk naked not to kill any insect.
  3. Many houses in the countryside have no toilets.
  4. Arranged marriage is still the norm in India.
  5. Many of the Indian traditions have their basis in science.
  6. Joining both palms together to greet has a scientific reason behind it.
  7. Indian women wear toe rings for health reasons.
  8. The tradition of applying henna has a cooling effect on the body.
  9. The tradition of fasting has health benefits1.
  10. The tradition of piercing ears has health benefits.
  11. The tradition of Namaste has a spiritual significance1.
  12. The tradition of Surya Namaskar has health benefits.
  13. The tradition of applying kumkum has a scientific reason behind it.
  14. The tradition of applying turmeric has health benefits3.
  15. The tradition of applying sindoor has a scientific reason behind it.
  16. The tradition of applying mehndi has a cooling effect on the body.
  17. The tradition of applying vibhuti has health benefits.
  18. The tradition of applying bhasma has health benefits.
  19. The tradition of applying sandalwood paste has a cooling effect on the body3.
  20. The tradition of applying kajal has a scientific reason behind it.
  21. The tradition of applying oil to hair has health benefits3.
  22. The tradition of applying ubtan has health benefits.
  23. The tradition of applying ghee has health benefits.
  24. The tradition of applying coconut oil has health benefits.
  25. The tradition of applying haldi has health benefits.
  26. The tradition of applying neem has health benefits.
  27. The tradition of applying aloe vera has health benefits3.
  28. The tradition of applying rose water has a cooling effect on the body.
  29. The tradition of applying jasmine oil has health benefits.
  30. The tradition of applying camphor has health benefits.

Main Traditions in India

India is a diverse country with many cultural and religious traditions. Some of the main traditions in India include:

  • Hinduism – Hinduism is the major religion in India accounting for about 80% of the population. Important Hindu traditions include puja (worship), fasting, festivals like Diwali and Holi, pilgrimages, yoga and meditation.
  • Islam – Islam is followed by about 15% of Indians. Important Islamic traditions include namaz (five daily prayers), fasting during Ramadan, celebration of Eid festivals.
  • Sikhism – Sikhism has about 2% following in India. Sikh traditions revolve around the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh place of worship called Gurdwara, Karah Parshad food offering, turban and uncut hair.
  • Christianity – Christianity is followed by about 2.5% of Indians. Christians in India practice various denominations like Roman Catholicism, Protestantism etc. Customs include Sunday church services, Christmas and Easter celebrations.
  • Jainism – An ancient Indian religion emphasizing non-violence, fasting, meditation and other spiritual practices. >>>> read more.

Most Famous Traditions in India

  • Diwali – The festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists in October/November. It signifies victory of light over darkness.
  • Holi – The spring festival of colors celebrated in February/March to mark the end of winter. It is a carnival of colors and joy.
  • Navaratri – A 9-night Hindu festival celebrating the Mother Goddess through fasting and dance. It culminates with Dussehra.
  • Onam – A harvest festival in Kerala marked by feasts, dances and boat races.
  • Pongal – A 4-day harvest festival in Tamil Nadu with rituals for sun god and cattle.
  • Durga Puja – A multi-day Hindu festival in eastern India worshipping Goddess Durga and celebrating her victory over evil.
  • Raksha Bandhan – A festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a sacred thread on brothers’ wrists.
  • Navratri Dance – Folk dances like Garba and Dandiya are performed in Gujarat. >>> read more.

Indian Family Traditions

  • Arranged Marriages – Traditional Indian families arrange marriages with involvement of parents and family elders.
  • Joint Families – Several generations like grandparents, parents, children live together in one household.
  • Patriarchy – The male head is considered leader of household and key decision maker.
  • Elders’ blessings – Touching feet of elders to seek blessings is an age old tradition.
  • Fasting for family – Married women fast for longevity and prosperity of husbands and children.
  • Family businesses – Business owned and operated by a family for generations.
  • Inter-caste marriages – Marriages between different castes is now getting acceptance.
  • Dowry system – The bride’s family gives gifts and cash payment to groom’s family. Banned but still prevalent. >>>> read more.

The Indian Way of Life

  • Family-centric – Indian culture is family-oriented with strong family bonds and inter-dependence.
  • Vegetarianism – About 40% of Indians are vegetarians due to religious beliefs.
  • Festive celebrations – Numerous religious festivals are celebrated with great fervor.
  • Spirituality – Religion and spirituality play a central role in daily life.
  • Hierachy – Hierarchical relationships like parent-child, teacher-student, boss-employee.
  • Traditional gender roles – Distinct roles for men as breadwinners and women as homemakers.
  • Celebration of arts – Rich heritage of dance, music, drama, literature etc.
  • Cuisine diversity – Vibrant curries, breads, snacks and sweets differ across regions.
  • Guest hospitality – Warm hospitality towards guests reflecting cultural values.
  • Ancient architecture – Magnificent historic monuments dot the Indian landscape. >>>>> read more.

4 Indian Beliefs

  • Karma and Dharma – Karma is actions and their consequences. Dharma is righteous duty and truth.
  • Reincarnation – The cycle of rebirth governed by Karma of past life.
  • Non-violence – Doctrines of non-violence or ahimsa espoused by religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Vegetarianism – Abstinence from meat due to beliefs in non-violence and reverence for cattle.
  • Asceticism – Renunciation of worldly pleasures to seek spiritual liberation.
  • Caste system – Social stratification based on birth and occupation.
  • Worship – Ritual worship of deities in temples, homes, sacred spaces.
  • Spiritual teacher – Following a guru or spiritual teacher and their guidance.

Beliefs in India

  • Polytheism – Belief in multiple gods and goddesses with different forms, aspects and avatars.
  • Reincarnation – The soul’s rebirth after death into a new body depending on karma.
  • Non-violence – Concept of non-violence or ahimsa has roots in religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Caste system – Historically segregated society based on birth and jobs.
  • Asceticism – Renunciation of worldly desires and pleasures during spiritual pursuit.
  • Ritual purification – Rituals for spiritual cleansing and purification of body and mind.
  • Worship – Worshipping deities through rituals, prayer, offerings and devotion.
  • Pilgrimage – Journey to sacred sites to attain blessing, purification and spiritual merit.
  • Moksha – The ultimate spiritual liberation and freedom from cycle of rebirth.

Types of Christians in India

  • Roman Catholics – Largest Christian group, belong to the Catholic church under the Pope.
  • Protestants – Various denominations like Anglican, Methodist, Evangelicals, Baptists etc.
  • Orthodox – Belong to ancient eastern churches like Syriac, Malankara Orthodox.
  • Pentecostals – Charismatic churches emphasizing gifts of Holy Spirit.
  • Seventh Day Adventists – Keep Saturday Sabbath, focus on Second coming of Christ.
  • Brethren Christians – Conservative Christians part of assembly halls across India.
  • Mangaloreans – Catholic Christians in Mangalore with distinct cultural practices.
  • Goan Christians – Minority community of Christians in Goa.
  • Tamil Christians – Protestant and Catholic denominations among Tamil community. >>>> read more.

India’s Biggest Beliefs

  • Hinduism – Oldest and major religion of India with variants like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism.
  • Islam – Second largest religion with Sunni and Shia sects. Sufi influences.
  • Christianity – Various denominations most prevalent in south and north-east India.
  • Sikhism – Important religion in north with focus on guru, community service.
  • Buddhism – Has ancient roots in India besides Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Jainism – Influential in spiritual life emphasizing non-violence, asceticism.
  • Zoroastrianism – Persian religion followed by Parsi community in west India.
  • Judaism – Small Jewish communities live in southwest India.
  • Baha’i – An Abrahamic religion built on unity of faiths.

India’s Main Religion

  • Hinduism is India’s main and oldest religion followed by about 80% of the population.
  • Originated in the Indus Valley civilization about 4000 years ago.
  • Hindus believe in one Supreme Reality (Brahman) manifested in many gods and goddesses.
  • Concept of karma, dharma, reincarnation and moksha (liberation) are key.
  • Main scriptures are the Vedas and texts like Ramayana, Mahabharata.
  • Main deities worshipped are Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha, Rama, Krishna.
  • Rituals include puja at home, temples, festivals like Diwali, Holi.
  • It has diverse traditions like Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism.
  • Yoga, meditation, vegetarianism, non-violence are intrinsic to Hindu ethos.
  • Fundamental unity behind different traditions is key feature. >>>>> read more.

What is India Known For?

  • Spirituality and religions – Birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism.
  • Festivals – Diwali, Holi, Navaratri, Durga Puja and many other colorful festivals.
  • Yoga and ayurveda – Yoga, meditation and natural ayurvedic remedies originate from India.
  • Spices and curries – Known for spicy vegetable and meat curries using aromatic spices.
  • Textiles – From elegant silks to cottons and embroidered fabrics.
  • Jewelry – Gold and precious stone jewelry in traditional intricate designs.
  • Tea from Darjeeling – World famous aromatic Darjeeling tea.
  • Bollywood films – Vibrant song-and-dance laden Bollywood films.
  • Monuments – Architectural wonders like Taj Mahal and ancient Hindu temples.
  • Cricket – India is passionate about cricket and produces world-class players.
  • Diversity of cultures – Many languages, cuisines, faiths within one nation. >>>> read more.

Do Hindus Believe in God?

  • Hindus believe in one Supreme Reality called Brahman which is formless, eternal, infinite, omnipresent.
  • Brahman is manifested in numerous gods and goddesses that are worshipped as different forms and manifestations.
  • The major Hindu deities include Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), Shiva (destroyer), Shakti (divine feminine power), Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman among many others.
  • Hindus also believe the supreme Brahman exists in every living being as the eternal soul or atman.
  • The goal of Hinduism is to break free from the cycle of birth and rebirth and attain moksha or oneness with Brahman.
  • Thus, Hindus do not just believe in one god but in Ultimate Reality manifested in many divine forms for the purpose of devotion and worship.
  • So the Hindu concept of God is complex, inclusive and goes beyond just one Supreme Being. >>> read more.

Differences between Christianity and Hinduism

  • Christianity is monotheistic while Hinduism is polytheistic and pantheistic.
  • Christians believe in one eternal, personal and loving God, while Hindus believe in Ultimate Reality manifested in many gods.
  • Jesus Christ is the core of Christianity while Hinduism has no single founder or central prophet.
  • Christianity follows Bible as holy scripture whereas Hindus revere the Vedas and Upanishads.
  • Christianity focuses on afterlife in Heaven or Hell based on faith in Christ, Hindus believe in rebirth after death based on karma.
  • Christianity preaches that non-believers will not attain salvation while Hinduism accepts different paths to the divine.
  • Christianity has set rituals like baptism and Holy Communion, but Hindu rituals vary.
  • Christianity bars idol worship whereas Hindus pray to different icons and idols.
  • Christianity is more religion-centric, Hinduism is pluralistic with emphasis on philosophy and tradition. >>>>> read more.

Do Hindus Believe in Jesus?

  • Most Hindus do not believe in Jesus as the one and only Son of God or the Messiah described in Christianity and the Bible.
  • However, Hindus generally view Jesus as a holy, wise spiritual teacher and perceived saintly person.
  • They believe Jesus was a divine incarnation like Krishna, Rama or Buddha who taught enlightened truths, although not the only way to salvation.
  • Christians believe Jesus is God Himself in human form, while Hindus consider Jesus to be one among many manifestations of the impersonal Absolute Reality.
  • Hindus reject the idea of Jesus as a savior of mankind from original sin since Hinduism does not share the doctrine of original sin, only karma.
  • For Hindus, Jesus is neither the only son of God nor the only path to spiritual liberation. He embodies and reflects the same divine light as other spiritual figures. >>>>>> read more.

What do Hindus Say When They Pray?

  • Hindus pray in many different ways, here are some common Hindu prayers:
  • The Gayatri Mantra invoking the Universal Divine Light of the sun.
  • Sanskrit mantras and hymns like the Purusha Sukta, Sri Sukta, or Vedic chants.
  • Stotras or devotional hymns to deities like the Mahishasura Mardini Stotram to Durga.
  • Bhajans or songs in regional languages singing glory of gods like Shiva or Krishna.
  • Prayer with rosary beads often reciting the 108 names of their cherished deity.
  • Puja rituals with offerings of flowers, diyas, food with chanting of mantras and devotional songs.
  • Prayers composed by saints like the famous Vishnu Sahasranamam with 1008 names of Vishnu.
  • Tailored personal prayers or conversations with God in their own words and regional language. >>>> READ MORE.

Who is the One God in Hinduism?

  • Hinduism is a polytheistic religion recognizing a Supreme Absolute Reality which manifests in many divine forms. Though it has many gods, ultimately Hindus assert the existence of one unified divine essence.
  • The major gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga are different manifestations of the same Supreme Brahman.
  • The Vedic literature talks of a singular Absolute Truth or Rita that pervades the universe.
  • The Upanishads describe the formless Brahman as the foundational unity behind all gods and living beings.
  • Generally, Hindus acknowledge that the myriad deities are various personifications of the transcendental Unity called Brahman.
  • Some Hindu sects like Vaishnavism elevate Vishnu as Supreme while Shaivism sects place Shiva on top.
  • But philosophically, all Hindu deities converge into one Universal Oneness called Brahman. >>>>> READ MORE.

Do Hindus Have a Bible?

  • Hindus do not have a single holy book like the Bible. But they revere many ancient scriptures and spiritual texts.
  • The Vedas – the oldest Hindu scriptures are the primary religious texts. These include Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva Vedas.
  • Upanishads – philosophical commentaries on the Vedas exploring Hindu concepts like Brahman, Atman, Karma, Dharma.
  • Puranas – ancient histories of the Universe and gods. Eg. Bhagavata Purana telling life of Krishna.
  • Ramayana and Mahabharata – popular ancient Hindu epics depicting the ideal of Dharma.
  • Bhagavad Gita – part of Mahabharata recording dialogues between Krishna and Arjuna.
  • Agamas and Tantras – texts on rituals, yoga, meditation, temple construction.
  • Darshanas – classical systems of Hindu philosophy like Vedanta, Mimamsa, Nyaya etc.
  • In addition, teachings of saints and gurus are revered as sacred literature. >>>> read more.

Who is the Real God – Jesus or Shiva?

  • This question reflects differences between Christian and Hindu worldviews on the nature of God and the divine.
  • For Christians, Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and path to salvation. He is considered the one true God incarnate.
  • For Hindus, Shiva is one among many manifestations of Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Reality. Hindus also revere other gods like Vishnu, Shakti.
  • The monotheistic traditions of Christianity aver Jesus as the sole, universal God and redeemer of humanity.
  • The polytheistic Hinduism believes that God is attributeless Absolute and infinite divine manifestations like Shiva point to this Absolute.
  • Philosophically, Hinduism considers all religions lead to the same ultimate Truth.
  • Rather than claims of exclusivity, Hindus recognize Jesus and Shiva as enlightened spiritual figures revealing Brahman in different ways.
  • From the Hindu lens, no single deity alone encompasses the entirety of Brahman.

What do Hindus Believe Happens After Death?

  • Hindus believe in reincarnation – the soul’s rebirth into a new physical form after death based on karma of previous life.
  • The body dies but the soul travels on its karmic path through different bodies until it attains moksha or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.
  • The soul’s next incarnation and life circumstances are determined by karma – actions and conduct in the past life.
  • Souls who performed good deeds and virtues attain better rebirths while sinful acts lead to inferior forms of life.
  • By following dharma and doing one’s duties, Hindus seek to resolve karma and free themselves from the cycle of reincarnation.
  • Liberated souls attain moksha upon death – they merge into Brahman in eternal oneness and bliss.
  • Some Hindu traditions believe souls wait in Swarga (Heaven) or Naraka (Hell) before the next rebirth on earth.
  • Ultimately, Hindus aspire for moksha or union of the individual Atman with the Universal Brahman. >>> read more.


Indian traditions are a fascinating subject that has captured the imagination of people around the world. From colorful festivals to intricate rituals, Indian traditions are an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Facts Behind Indian Traditions

In this article, we have explored some of the lesser-known facts behind Indian traditions. We hope that this article has given you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich and diverse tapestry of customs, beliefs, and practices that make up Indian traditions. Consider reading other articles we wrote like >>>> Indian Traditions: Exploring the Richness and Diversity of India’s Cultural Heritage to learn more.

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